Top four Australia cricketers asked to play in Sheffield Shield

Three Australian cricketers – Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson – have not played a Sheffield Shield match in last three years Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

Melbourne: Oct 7, 2011

Cricket Australia has asked four Test cricketers Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson and Xavier Doherty to play a Sheffield Shield match before leaving for the South Africa tour, following an advice made in the Don Argus Review.

All four will now leave for the South Africa tour a little late then their other teammates as they ll be busy playing the Sheffield Shield match.

Also, The Age reported that pacer James Pattinson will join Australia’s Twenty20 squad two days late as he will take part in Victoria s clash against Queensland on Sunday.

Australia’s T20 squad leaves on Saturday for South Africa, and will play the first match on October 13, which gives Pattinson ample time to arrive.

The decision is against the recent custom which allowed the elite cricketers to skip representing their states and play in international matches.

The Don Argus report had said: “Graduation mentality among players … a belief that once they have played at a higher level, they are no longer obliged to play, or were above, the previous level they played.”

Till the last Ashes series played in Australia, Ponting, Hussey and Johnson had not played any single Sheffield Shield match for about three years.

Australian selectors had not been including the elite players in state matches, due to concerns of workload, even when there were gaps in international schedules.

Even if the Western Australia-Tasmania match goes on for all four days, Ponting, Hussey, Johnson and Doherty are likely to arrive in South Africa only 12 hours after the rest of the ODI squad.